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    PGE Ventures realized its first investment exit

    Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

    PGE Ventures, a PGE Group company that acts as a corporate venture capital fund responsible for investments in startups, has completed its first divestment, achieving a return of several times its invested funds.   

    PGE Ventures has sold its entire stake in Lerta S.A. This process is in line with PGE Ventures’ strategy and meets all the criteria adopted by the company for investment exits. The new owner of the sold shares is Photon Energy N.V., listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange, a current shareholder and strategic investor in Lerta since 2020. 

    PGE Group, while looking for, among other things, solutions to support renewable energy generation, at the same time seeks methods to stabilize the power grid, which, as a result of the dynamically growing share of RES in the system, needs to maintain its reliability. Lerta, as an active participant in the power market, helps precisely in balancing the grid. 

    PGE Ventures invested in Lerta in 2018 and increased its financial commitment by participating in subsequent investment rounds between 2020 and 2021, recognizing the potential for further growth, revenue scaling and expansion into foreign markets. 

    “We are pleased that as PGE Ventures we were part of this several-year investment horizon contributing to the development of an entity supporting the stabilization of the national electricity grid and further expansion of RES in Poland,”

    Tomasz Jakubiak, CEO of PGE Ventures, said.

    For PGE Ventures, the investment exit from Lerta is also important in financial terms. The sale price of the shares made it possible to generate income from this investment at a level several times higher than the total cost of their acquisition. The internal rate of return (IRR) of about 50% is a result significantly above the average rate of return achieved by Venture Capital funds in Poland and around the world.  

    “Some of our startups are increasing their value by leaps and bounds, as evidenced by their higher year-on-year revenues and valuations achieved in subsequent funding rounds. We are pleased that in this difficult market environment we were able to successfully complete our investment horizon in Lerta. We are the first Corporate Venture Capital fund in Poland established within the structures of a company from the energy sector that can boast a similar success,”

    Tomasz Jakubiak, CEO of PGE Ventures, added.

    “We are extremely pleased that Lerta is becoming a key element of Photon Energy Group’s integrated business model. Together with Lerta’s founders and the company’s entire talented team, we look forward to being at the forefront of the coming structural changes in the energy market. We congratulate PGE Ventures for skillfully recognizing Lerta’s potential and making an early investment decision. We also thank all the financial investors for their effective cooperation, which has resulted in the company’s dynamic growth over the past years. For both PGE Ventures and Photon Energy, the investment in Lerta is a model example of corporate venture investment in Poland and abroad,”

    Georg Hotar, co-founder and CEO of Photon Energy Group, said.

    “Today’s transaction crowns almost 5 years of cooperation with the PGE Ventures fund, which was one of the first institutional investors to believe in Lerta’s potential. Many thanks to the entire PGE Ventures team and all the PGE Group representatives with whom we had the opportunity to work during this period. Joining Photon Energy Group is an extremely important milestone for us, which begins a new chapter in the companies’ history. We believe that the changes taking place in the global energy markets are an excellent opportunity for the dynamic development of integrated companies,”

    Borys Tomala, co-founder and CEO of Lerta, said.

    PGE Ventures plays the role of a Corporate Venture Capital fund within the structures of the PGE Group while being the first and only such entity in the Polish energy sector, whose extensive investment structure addresses the needs of startups at every stage of the investment cycle, i.e., from projects in the earliest phase of development, for which the satellite fund Energy Research Capital is responsible, through projects in the early growth phase that are the domain of the PGE Ventures team, ending with mature startups in the late growth and expansion phase, which are targeted by SpeedUp Energy Innovation. To date, PGE Ventures, together with satellite funds, has invested in a total of 34 startups at various stages of development, with the funds responsible for 27 and PGE Ventures for seven equity investments. 
    Lerta develops cutting-edge energy services based on the Virtual Power Plant. Thanks to its proprietary technology and automation, the company enables monetization of the ability to adjust the operation of power plants and consumer equipment to market requirements in real-time. Lerta's operations help minimize carbon footprint, increase green energy production, and protect the planet. Lerta's Virtual Power Plant aggregates nearly 300 MW of power from green sources and Demand Side Response (DSR). The company holds electricity trading licenses in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Serbia, and Hungary, and is one of the largest aggregators in the Polish Power Market. 
    Photon Energy Group offers comprehensive solutions in the areas of photovoltaics, energy storage and clean water provision worldwide. Since its founding in 2008, Photon Energy has built and commissioned PV installations with a total capacity of more than 120 MWp and has a portfolio of its own 91.9 MWp installations. It is currently developing projects with a total capacity of more than 900 MWp in Australia, Hungary, Poland, and Romania, and provides technical maintenance services for PV plants of about 380 MWp worldwide. The group's other main business line, Photon Water, provides clean water solutions, including treatment and remediation services, as well as the development and management of wells and other water resources. Photon Energy N.V., the holding company of Photon Energy Group, is listed on the Warsaw, Prague, and Frankfurt Stock Exchanges.

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